Sparx Services CE: Labnaf facilitates transformation

Lilian Duchene, Etnic
(PresseBox) ( Vienna/Brussels, )
Lilian Duchene works at Etnic in Belgium, which provides IT services to more than 40 institutions/public administrations in the Federation Wallonia-Brussels (French Community of Belgium). To transform these services, the company uses the Enterprise Architecture framework Labnaf, an extension of Enterprise Architect. With the framework it can now manage its relationships with its clients transparently and with open communication.

Like everywhere else, the already strong demand for digital solutions has increased even more in the French Community of Belgium (approx. 4.2 million inhabitants) in the wake of the Corona pandemic. Therefore, it became urgent for Etnic, the IT service provider for more than 40 institutions/public administrations in the Federation Wallonia-Brussels, to accelerate its business and IT transformations and to coordinate all change initiatives in the best possible way. Lilian Duchene of Etnic: "Our goal is to manage change in our clients' information systems, through the information produced and managed within a common architecture repository. In this way, global governance of enterprise architecture will be more efficient in the long run."

Labnaf: A framework for a wide range of organisations

Since Etnic already had a lot of experience in the application and modelling of IT and enterprise architecture, they quickly knew what the requirements were for a new solution. In the course of the search, they came into contact with Alain De Preter, who manages and sells the Enterprise Architecture Framework Labnaf together with Luc Alix. While De Preter is more concerned with framework development, sales and marketing, Alix is more focused on training, knowledge sharing and presentations. The Labnaf research project was started by De Preter across several organizations. It followed a unique and scientific approach for builing architecture frameworks. It then turned into a robust framework thanks to a multi-displine collaboration at Belgian Railways. The Belgian Railways‘ architecture team, led by Alix, was looking for a suitable architecture to facilitate and accelerate the modernisation of the IT landscape. They adopted and further enriched Labnaf including the tool based on Enterprise Architect. Many important architecture standards such as Archimate™, TOGAF™, BPMN, SAFe, etc..  are now merged into Labnaf. This unified language helps in decision making by forcing users to address the important concerns and not get lost in details.

Labnaf is a scalable toolkit for holistic enterprise architecture that can be used to plan, manage and organise the entire process of transformation - from as-is to implementation. "The presentation of Labnaf by Alain De Preter convinced us, as it also showed, above all, the suitability of the framework for the various specialists around architecture development. At the same time, it gave us a process that we can measure, show and improve. After all, we have to make it clear to our users that we are modernising their digital offerings with our developments," explains Duchene.

Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM): A journey with a clear destination

Luc Alix, who has been self-employed with his company Enterprise Intelligence Partners since 2019, sees every EAM initiative as the start of a journey with a clearly formulated goal: "As an enterprise architect, you are required to explain, document and report on this journey. The model repository used by Labnaf, with its structured data, allows every type of element in the architecture of an enterprise to be mapped: Business, Information, Application and Infrastructure architecture. The value of modelling becomes clear by showing the relationships between the different types of elements, combining them to map the current state of an organisation and assessing the potential for innovation or change."

Etnic can now - after uninstalling its previous solution - use Enterprise Architect and Labnaf to simplify the process of EAM initiatives while keeping it agile and transparent. Indeed, for the government service organisation, stakeholder and customer relationships are of major importance. Currently, Labnaf is used in conjunction with Cytoscape (an open source product) to perform a more global graph analysis of data and dependencies. Lilian Duchene: "We have planned to integrate several of our repositories with Labnaf to enable more detailed analysis and more relevant reporting on our transformations of our clients' various IT systems - and of course our own. So we plan to integrate the repositories for portfolios, programmes, projects, public procurement, CMDB (configuration management database) and monitoring (performance)."

The metamodel as an important basis

Duchene describes the consistency of the "all-in-one" metamodel with etnic's architecture initiatives as the biggest advantage of the new solution: "It sounds so obvious: with a single metamodel, it is very easy and, above all, very fast to represent all strategic, tactical, operational and governance levels. The links between them are immediate, and the question of how to retrieve this or that information no longer arises."

The calculations that Labnaf allows based on the data contained in the diagram are also very useful, he says. Previously, with other products, it was necessary to create long scripts to go through the entire graph. Now, based on SQL queries, it is quite easy to perform complex calculations and update attributes in real time.

"Because Labnaf is based on Enterprise Architect, we benefit from the ability to create documents based on templates. Therefore, it is even more consistent for us to work only in the repository to store all information there. This way we can publish our reports and analysis documents whenever we need to!" On this subject, he said, they will soon launch a project to publish the data automatically. "Again, I have no doubt that we will manage this task with Labnaf. Because the system is already well prepared for this task as well," Duchene concludes.

Labnaf for CIOs and CTOs

Your goal: transparency and optimisation of digital transformation
  • Managing growth while reducing costs
Labnaf integrates standards and best practices for enterprise architecture with easily calculable licensing models.
  • Coordinating IT & business by creating transparency and simplified communication
Labnaf uses a metamodel as a flexible construction kit and a scalable, intuitively understandable language based on Archimate.
  • Optimising quality for transformation initiatives
Labnaf accesses an already defined, easily adaptable repository.

Labnaf for enterprise architects

Your goal: Mastering complexity with enterprise architecture and increasing value contribution
  • Application Management
Labnaf simplifies direct and continuous collaboration from business idea to implementation, reducing costs throughout the project lifecycle.
  • Content Optimisation
Labnaf enables the import of data and creates automated consistent charts, on-demand or periodically.
  • Dashboard, evaluations and reports
Labnaf informs a wide range of stakeholders, tailored to their information needs.
  • Governance
Labnaf checks the architecture documentation for completeness, presents the results in dashboards and informs business and IT.

Meet Sparx Services Central Europe on 14 June 2021 in Vienna (Online + Live onsite):

3rd IT-Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) Conference 2021 (Connect Informuity).

Monday, 14 June 2021, 8.45-19.00, Erste Campus Vienna, 1100 Vienna, Am Belvedere 1

Luc Alix (Labnaf, Enterprise Intelligence Partner) talks about: Creating meaningful relationships with a solid Enterprise Architecture Framework – Best practice of a service delivery agency in the governmental field

Registration at


About Etnic

Etnic is a company that provides IT services to more than 40 institutions/public administrations in the Federation Wallonia-Brussels. The use of IT is already very important in normal times, but the Corona situation has created an even greater demand among clients. Therefore, with Enterprise Architect and Labnaf, business and IT transformations are now accelerated and all change initiatives are centrally coordinated. The aim here is to manage change in customers' information systems through the information produced and managed within an architecture repository. In this way, the governance of the enterprise architecture should become more efficient in the long term.
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